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BMI Bollocks

My colleague's daughter is by no means fat. She is actually really thin. She eats, like any normal six-year-old does, maybe more, maybe less - and she is not fat.

Fast metabolism some call it. Whatever it is, according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) this is somehow, not the case. But wait, there's more.

This morning, my colleague said to me, "You've seen my daughter right?"

"Yeah" I respond.

"I mean in the flesh, right?" she adds, "You've seen that she is thin and her bones even stick out in some places? You can actually see her ribs sticking out…"

"Yes", I continue. She's now shaking her head, clearly taken aback by what she's reading. I'm not yet too sure what it's all about at this point so I lean in a little closer.

"Well according to my medical aid, she's fat," she says.

"What?" This is of course hard to believe so I roll my chair even closer to see what she's talking about and just as she had said, true as Bob, her medical aid had in writing, declared her daughter fat.

They actually used the term "overweight".

Her daughter is six years old, she is the height of an average seven-year-old and she weighs 20kgs. So I'm not exaggerating when I say she is not fat. And yes she entered in her correct height, weight and age into the BMI calculator. But wait, there's more.

By Body Mass Index standards, I am overweight. Common sense tells me I'm just right. Neil Kurtzman of Medicine-Opera.com actually says I'm "pleasantly plump", or "right smack dab in the middle of the seemingly optimal range" with a BMI of 27.4. Not overweight.

You may now go ahead and stalk my Facebook page.

My colleague was filling in a 'loyalty benefit programme' questionnaire about her child. One of the questions was, "Do you think she's underweight, overweight, or just right." To which she replied "Just right".

I know that my colleague is intelligent enough to know that her child is just right.

I am intelligent enough to know that I am not overweight.

I don't know who came up with the Body Mass Index but I KNOW it's total bollocks.

General opinions about what a person should or shouldn't be, which are of course generally not worth bothering about, are rife. Log onto the internet, and it's shoved in your face - some cheezy overly buff abs girl in a pink bikini saying "BEST DIET EVER".

You know that kind of stuff is total rubbish, right? Do you actually think you're not quite there yet, even though people tell you all the time you look fantastic?

I don't get scales and I don't get fad diets. Whenever I try some diet that excludes an entire food group, well, life's just not quite right without pizza and cake now is it?

I've tried every diet, I've over exercised and under exercised and the only thing I've learnt from it is that the only thing that's sustainable is to respect and honour your body. Be happy. Be healthy. Eat. Exercise.

A scale only tells you how much you weigh. It doesn't ask you whether you are happy or not happy. Or whether you feel like going for a run or whether you feel kind of sick from all the Christmas turkey you ate.

I'm done with diets and scales, unrealistic BMI charts. I'm just going to be me. I have some curves and some thin bits, some fat bits, all of which I'm proud to say are my own.

And that's cool.

This experience has confirmed the suspicions I had about the BMI all along. It's nonsense. I always knew it sounded ridiculous when people said "I'm not at my ideal weight yet, but I'm getting there," when they are there already.

To quote the edgy fashion obsessed assistant in The Devil Wears Prada:

Emily: Andrea, my God! You look so chic.

Andy Sachs: Oh, thanks. You look so thin.

Emily: Really? It's for Paris, I'm on this new diet. Well, I don't eat anything and when I feel like I'm about to faint I eat a cube of cheese. I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.

If I worked for Vogue magazine which, dare I contradict myself and say it's always been a distant dream of mine, I'd probably also get stomach flu on purpose to spend a week in Paris, meet Karl Lagerfeld and wear Valentino and just generally strive to be Meryl Streep in that movie (dear Lord she is majestic). But I don't.

Check out this thigh gap video though if you want crazy skinny thighs with a massive gap in between. They'll be as far apart as the Earth and Jupiter. Really. (No not really, don't get too excited).

But if you don't feel like stomach flu then this website is something you should see: www.haescommunity.org

For heaven's sake, next time you say you're almost at your ideal weight, just stop flapping for a second, go to the mirror, and look at yourself. Then eat a cream puff, clap twice, skip through a sun-bathed field because life is just too damn short.

And then think about what a load of bollocks it is that the BMI declared my colleague's thin daughter fat.

That's all you need to know.